The company has discovered a way to balance the benefits of dual-screen and foldable form factors while minimising their drawbacks.
I’ll admit that when I first saw images of Lenovo’s new dual-screen Yoga Book 9i, I had my doubts. I’ve tested a tonne of foldables and dual-screen devices, and although many are functional, many also have significant drawbacks. However, this is the only dual-screen laptop I’ve used that I could honestly see myself buying. And the reason for this is because Lenovo has undoubtedly performed the necessary software engineering to ensure that it can handle many of the somewhat… obvious worries that buyers could have with such a device.
The Yoga Book i9’s lack of a visible touchpad is the first noticeable drawback. That’s what first caught my attention when Lenovo unveiled the product, which is a laptop-sized spiritual successor to Microsoft’s Surface Neo. It consists of two 13.3-inch, 16:10, 2.8K OLED screens stacked on top of one another, joined by a hinge in the middle, and it also has a detachable keyboard. How is one supposed to get around this? As I listened to the keynote, I pondered.
It turns out that there are numerous approaches, and they are all effective. You can start by touching the screen. Next, you can make use of the stylus (which lives very sturdily in a sleeve on the back of the device). Third, a virtual touchpad can be displayed directly on the screen by navigating to the software settings for Lenovo. Haptic buttons on this touchpad actually feel reasonably similar to genuine buttons thanks to their physical feedback. This touchpad’s size is adjustable. Move it around as needed. The globe is open to you. Being able to use a touchpad on a screen at first seemed strange, but I think you’d grow used to it.
This item may also be folded in half and used like a standard 13-inch laptop by turning it 90 degrees. This is a feature of single-screen foldable devices as well, but the drawback is that doing so typically results in a considerably smaller screen because you’re taking a screen that was previously used horizontally and dividing it lengthwise.
The number of usable screens is certainly reduced from two to one when you fold the Yoga Book into clamshell mode, but the size reduction does not feel quite as extreme as it does when you fold, for example, Asus’s Zenbook 17 Fold in half. The same 13.3-inch laptop screen with the same aspect ratio is still what you’re looking at. (The bottom portion, where the keyboard attaches, is not especially crowded either, which is another common problem with foldables.)
Anyway, a virtual keyboard and touchpad instantly appear where you’d expect them to when you fold the Yoga Book 9i into clamshell form. Although I normally detest using onscreen keyboards, this one is definitely the most clicky and comfortable one I’ve ever used. This touchpad is also haptic. The actual keyboard can also be placed directly on top of the virtual one, and if you do, the touchpad will stay in its original location.
All of these appear to be fairly practical solutions to the touchpad issue. Since the dawn of time, OEMs have struggled with the placement of touchpads on dual-screen laptops, leading to a multitude of front-mounted keyboards and tiny, subpar touchpads. I have stated that Asus would be better suited to do away with their trackpads entirely in prior reviews of their dual-screen devices due to how horrible they were. I appreciate Lenovo for making that leap, to be really honest.
Although the Yoga Book doesn’t use a customised version of Windows 11 (RIP Windows 10X), it feels that way because of all the different motions Lenovo has included to enhance interactions for the dual-screen form factor. Your windows and apps can be moved in a variety of ways, and each one takes only four seconds to become proficient in.
The movie is my favourite. Any app or browser tab can be clicked and held while being flicked to the other screen. Additionally, there is a snap arrangement feature that has been specially designed for this device and will likely be much more practical for many users given the Yoga Book’s form shape than it is on typical Windows laptops.
In the appropriately called “waterfall mode,” a five-finger tap on your tab or window also extends it to fill both screens. Although having a huge hinge in the midst of your waterfall slightly detracts from the beauty, I can see this being entertaining to use. When using the laptop in clamshell mode, you may quickly access weather forecasts, CPU usage and performance statistics, Outlook, and other applications by pulling the keyboard down with eight fingers. (This, however, disables the touchpad that is located there; therefore, it’s more of a quick-reference feature than something you’d want to leave open — unless you have a mouse plugged in.)
There are undoubtedly a gazillion more clever features that Lenovo has incorporated into this. (Lenovo’s representatives were anxious to demonstrate further skills, but we had a time period to fill.) Additionally, I’m confident that I haven’t thought of every scenario in which you might use this item, and that doing some research before buying it would be necessary.
Particularly, I’ve been asked a lot about using the two screens simultaneously in horizontal mode. Yes, you can, although it’s a little strange, is the response. The screens are tall and narrow when arranged in this manner, as seen in the image above, and the end product has a slightly more fictional appearance than a workspace. You could do it, but you might need to get used to it first (and, at times, creative resizing).
I also frequently heard the query, “Does the Yoga Book sway?” That’s correct, it is. The top screen is a little shaky when you tap it while holding the laptop vertically. However, I don’t think this is a large issue because I think I’d like to do the majority of my navigating on the stable bottom screen as it is closer to me and easier to access.
Last but not least, how powerful is it and can you edit videos on it? You know what, that’s not bad. The inside processor is an Intel Core i7 U-series chip from the 13th generation. You won’t have a great editing experience because it’s made for thin and light devices, but you could certainly finish a project on it if you were on the go.
It is also true that Lenovo’s capacity to develop top-notch software will determine whether this gadget succeeds in the end. The ThinkPad X1 Fold was rather buggy to use, thus the company didn’t completely succeed there. Despite my little test period, the Yoga Book 9i feels better. Despite reports of the tablet blue-screening during other people’s testing, I didn’t experience it during my brief time with the gadget. I also had no issues switching between tabs or accessing the internet. When I have a chance to use a finished device, I’ll have a lot more opinions.
But the primary thing I get from it is that I think someone might have finally figured out how to make a dual-screen device. This concept is pretty cool. Without many drawbacks that I can identify, it has managed to combine the portability advantages of foldables with the entertaining diversity of dual-screens. However, you must be willing to accept a hinge in the centre of your workplace and pay at least $2,000, which is just the starting price.